closeup of older woman's mouth during dental care procedure

Caregivers should be aware that adults who have lost teeth in non-traumatic ways may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s according to an analysis of U.S. health-related telephone surveys.

Oral disease, which can cause tooth loss, is known to be associated with heart disease. To further understand this link, investigators looked at tooth loss not caused by trauma, as well as cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, angina and stroke.

The study included more than 300,000 participants aged 40 to 79. Overall, 8% percent had no teeth and 13% had cardiovascular disease. The percentage of people who had cardiovascular disease and no teeth was 28%, compared to 7% of people who had cardiovascular disease but did not have missing teeth.

People who reported having one to five missing teeth or six or more, but not all, missing teeth were also more likely to develop some form of heart disease. This was true after adjusting for a variety of factors, including dental visits.

The results reinforce the importance of oral healthcare among older adults, the researchers wrote. Not only is this care crucial to preventing the problems that lead to tooth loss, but it may have the potential to reduce cardiovascular risk, they concluded.